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Many forestry institutions in the continent are weak, inadequately staffed with thin budgets and deficient operating funds. In many instances skeletal staff on post are assigned to work in vast and isolated areas with little or no supervision and support on decision-making and enforcement. Although many countries have revised their forest policies, and given commitment to decentralization and integration of community members in joint forest management efforts, meaningful integration of communities in forestry development is hardly noticeable. Local communities remain sidelined from forest management and still see the forests as resources wrongfully taken from them and hence targets of plunder. This has further crippled their possible assistance to management on surveillance to detect and report abuse by profit driven loggers or encroachers. Absence of a culture of transparency, accountability and commitment, application of sound scientific management protocols and professionalism pervasive in the civil service remains evident in forest management. These weaknesses continue to constrain attempts to internalize sustainable management of forests for provision of multiple goods and services.

Taboos, rites and beliefs make up key tools for regulating resource use in rural communities, and are particularly relevant in the management of community forests. Although such unwritten dicta in the form of rites and beliefs have promoted the conservation of sacred trees and forests in the past, their effectiveness has waned in modern times. They nonetheless constitute useful ingredients in the development of forest policies in the new era of forest development.

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